Healthy London Partnership and Metropolitan Police Service: Handover process for voluntary mental health patients in emergency departments
In 2017, an independent investigation into a London murder case concerning a mentally ill patient who had absconded from accident and emergency was finalised. It concluded there was a need for better handover when police attend A&E accompanying someone with mental health needs.
Healthy London Partnership worked in partnership with the Metropolitan Police to develop just such a process, to be used when a patient voluntarily attends the emergency department with an officer.
It involves a handover form with details about the individual, including any substance misuse; the reason for their attendance at A&E; and any suicidal thoughts.
There is also a verbal handover, to ensure the individual’s circumstances and needs are fully understood by all parties.
Once complete, one copy of the form is kept by the police and the other by healthcare staff.
In the emergency departments that have piloted the new process, there has been an 82 per cent reduction in missing persons reports.
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